A harmless little story about the things done for love. I don't own Sailor Moon, so please don't sue (I'm unemployed anyway). Enjoy!

Darien fidgeted in his chair and glanced at his watch for the millionth time. He tried to follow the lively conversation being held by Serena and her friends, but he had too many other things on his mind. Serena must have heard his sigh since she turned her attention to him.

" You don't have to stay. I can see how worried you are, why don't you just go home? I don't mind, really", Serena suggested in a whisper.

" No, it's okay. I can study later", Darien said weakly. He then checked his watch again only to be caught by Serena.

" Go. I'll let you make it up to me later"; Serena said softly, a smile gracing her lips.

" Thanks, I'm just really worried about this test tomorrow…"

" No more excuses or I'll change my mind and force you to stay here and make small talk with your neglected girlfriend", Serena said.

Darien stood up and gave Serena a kiss on the cheek. " Nice seeing you all again, but I've got work to do at home, so I'm gonn'a split. Bye", Darien said.

" Bye, Darien", said the group in unison, before immediately returning to their conversation.

" Yeah, see you later Darien. Come in after your exam tomorrow and I'll give you a coffee on the house", Andrew said. There was nobody else in the Crown Arcade since it was technically closed, so he had joined the group at the table for a round of sodas.

" Sure, if I have time", Darien said hurriedly, rushing out of the arcade. He had planned on studying most of the evening when Serena had called him and invited him to join her and her friends for a movie. It had occurred to him to say no, but then he knew how upset that would make Serena. Above all else she hated to feel neglected and Darien thought it was worth a few lost hours to make her happy. Now that he was headed home, however, he was upset about the lost time. It was university finals week, and like every other student, he was spending every spare minute from now until the last exam, in agony because of the stress. He slept, breathed, ate, and dreamed studying, and he was beginning to fear for his sanity.

Entering his apartment, he couldn't help but sigh in disgust at the piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen, and the mountains of paper stacked on every available surface. It was the same pattern as every other final's week. He would hole himself up in his apartment, slave over his books trying to learn an entire term's worth of knowledge in a week, and meanwhile let his domestic duties slide. He was simply too tired between his job, attending the exams, and the occasional night as Tuxedo Mask, to conjure up the energy for dishes and laundry.

" It'll all be over Friday, just keep telling yourself Friday", Darien muttered to himself as he prepared for another long night of studying. He pushed aside some notes on his desk and cracked open a massive physics textbook. The book creaked because it had never before been opened. It was going to a long night.

Back at the arcade, Serena was pensively sipping her coke while her friends talked around her.

" Something wrong, Meatball head?" Raye asked her, noticing how quiet she had become since Darien had left.

" It's nothing", Serena said.

Mina groaned, " Oh no, here we go again".

" Huh, what did I say?"

" Your 'it's nothing' always turns out to be something about Darien. Let's see it'll either be the ' do you think he's mad at me?' question, or the ' he's spending all his time with Reenie'", Lita said. The other's laughed as Serena blushed, realizing her friends knew her way too well.

" Well, he has been really busy lately, and I almost never see him, so I asked him out tonight and all he did was look forward to going home again. I mean, nobody can be that excited about studying again, can they?"

" Serena, you do know that it's finals week, right?" Andrew asked.

" Yeah, but…"

" No buts about it, Serena. You're always complaining to us about how your life is so overwhelming. Just imagine how Darien feels. Not only does he have to handle school – which, by the way, is way more intensive than your studies, but he has to go to work, he has to pay bills, he has to buy groceries, cook, clean. All those little things your parents take care of for you, he has to do himself; alone. Trust me, I'm speaking from experience when I say that it's a lot of work. Frankly, I don't see how Darien does it." Lita said. As usual, Lita's perceptions were right on the mark.

" You forgot the most terrible hardship of all. The fact that he's dating Meatball head!" Raye said gleefully.

" Hey, not funny", Serena said throwing her plastic drinking straw at her friend.

" Well, she does have a point, Serena", Amy observed.

" Uh, Amy? I was only kidding", Raye said.

" Yeah, but having a steady girlfriend does take up a lot of his time. I don't mean that in bad way, but I'm sure it's something he worries about. Balancing the time for his life and the time he can spend with you. And let's be honest, Serena, you are not the type to stand quietly at the sidelines. If you want something from him, you know you only have to ask and he'll try to do it."

" So I'm a horrible girlfriend and I'm holding him back from his full potential? Is that what you're telling me?" Serena said. She wasn't laughing anymore, in fact she felt quite hurt.

" No! That's not what I meant at all. You're so important to him that it only stands to reason that he would spend the majority of his time working on his relationship with you. Like tonight – he could have stayed home and studied, but he chose to spend time with you."

" I think I understand what Amy is saying. She's saying that he'll never be so busy, that he won't want to spend time with you", Andrew said, clarifying the conversation.

" Your right, everyone, as usual", Serena said, giving Amy a hug to show that she hadn't taken any real offence. She then noticed that Darien had left his schoolbag on the seat next to her. " He must be busy to have forgotten this. I think I'll head home, and drop this off on the way. Thanks guys for the advice", Serena said standing up. A plan was formulating in her brain even as she rose from the table.

" No problem, girlfriend. That's what we do", Mina said.

Serena thought long and hard as she walked towards Darien's apartment, his bag clutched to her chest. Darien did do a lot of nice things for her, and he was always there when she really needed him to be. Whenever she felt the pressures of Sailor Moon, or school, or life in general, he was always there to listen. When had she ever done the same thing for him? He never complained about school, but surely university was tough? And Lita was right; she had never before considered all the domestic duties of post-parental life. She felt so selfish. Here he was trying to study, working so hard so that he could get a decent job, and her response was to whine and beg him to come out to the movies. Why had he agreed? How could he put up with someone so incredibly self-centred?

Still musing she arrived at his front door and knocked lightly. Darien came to the door and already his eyes looked a little red and blurry.

" You forgot your bag, I thought you might need it", Serena said. She glanced around his apartment noticing the mess in the usually immaculate apartment, and confirmed her suspicions – Darien was working too hard.

" Thanks, I thought I'd have to wait until tomorrow to pick it up", he said, he dug around in the bag and found his reading glasses. He didn't really need them, but it helped prevent eyestrain when he had to do a lot of reading. " You're the best girlfriend in the world, did you know that?"

Serena smiled and gave him a soft kiss before leaving. Best girlfriend in the world? Because she had brought him his book-bag? Did she really do so little for him that this one action was enough to make him say such an outrageous comment? She didn't feel like a particularly nice person at the moment but as she walked home she came to realize that it wasn't too late.

" Time I started living up to my reputation. Just you wait, Darien. By the end of the week, I really will be the best girlfriend in the world", Serena said loudly into the darkness. She ran the rest of the way home, ready to put her master plan into action.

That night she sat at her own desk and pulled out a fresh piece of paper and a pen. Luna nearly had a heart attack when she came in and saw Serena working studiously.

" I suppose it would be asking too much, if that turned out to be homework?"

" Homework? It's Sunday and tomorrow is the start of Spring Break, why on earth would I be doing work?"

" I knew it. Just don't come complaining to me next Sunday when all the work you put off now will be due", Luna said snidely, before hopping up on to Serena's bed and settling down for the night. Serena stuck her tongue out at the cat and then returned to her project. At the top written in large, red letters was the title - Operation: Perfect Girlfriend. Many of the things on her list were simple things she could take care of for Darien so that he could study without worry. Things like the dishes, the laundry, cleaning up the apartment a little, and buying groceries were not a problem, but other things like cooking were going to take considerable effort on her part. Plus, she made a list of all the things she would refrain from doing this week. No more late night phone calls just so she could hear his voice and certainly no more demands on his time – at least not until finals were over. That meant she would have to be in and out of his apartment when he wasn't there.

" Shoot, where did I put that key he gave me?" Serena asked herself, as she started looking through her room. She had a key to Darien's apartment that was only to be used in an emergency, which she deemed this was. After throwing the clothes on the floor around the room, and after she had emptied out the entire contents of her desk and closet, she found the key on her key ring, right where it was supposed to be. " At least, nobody was around to see that, Serena you Meatball head", she said, smacking herself in the head.

She was so excited by her plan that she could barely sleep, and the next morning she was awake before her alarm – a first for a Monday morning. She put on jeans and a T-shirt then headed over to Lita's for a crash course in cooking.

" Let me get this straight, you want me to teach you how to make a week's worth of meals, but you don't want me to prepare them for you? Are you sure? I don't mind cooking for such a good cause", Lita said, eyeing Serena with sincere puzzlement. She had never seen the blonde girl so determined or energized before.

" No, I want it to be from me. See? It's all right here in the plan", Serena said seriously, whipping out the piece of paper she had so painstakingly worked on. " Must follow the plan", Serene said, trying to sound wise and sage-like.

Lita eyed the page, smiling a little at the title. " Well Serena I think you're a little nutty, but because it's such a sweet gesture, I will definitely help. Let's go through some cookbooks and pick out some things he'll like, then we can go to the grocery store."

" Thank you so much Lita! I owe you one", Serena said giddily. Pulling out her red pen she scratched off 'get cooking tips from Lita' from her list, folded the page back up, and stuck it in her back jean pocket. Serena and Lita spent the morning and most of the afternoon, in Serena's family's kitchen cooking up a storm. Lita was as good as her word, and didn't try to takeover even when things looked their darkest. Actually Serena made quite a good cook with Lita around to remind her which was the salt and which was the sugar, and to take things out of the oven at the correct time.

" Thanks again, Lita. I couldn't have done it without you", Serena said, as she wearily removed her apron and threw it in the washing machine.

" There's hope for your cooking skills yet. You're way ahead of Mina at any rate", Lita said laughing. " And thanks for asking for my help. I had a great time today".

Lita left and Serena packed away the various foods in Tupperware containers, storing most of it in the fridge but leaving one meal out so that she could take it over to Darien's. Glancing at the clock, she figured she had at least two more hours until Darien would be at his apartment. She grabbed her keys, and balancing the food carefully in her arms, she hurried out the door. She began humming the theme song to Mission Impossible as she crept stealthily down the streets to Darien's apartment. It didn't matter that it was broad daylight and that there was no chance of anyone hindering her plan, should they even figure out what it was; she liked the idea of keeping it secret. She was like some smug spy, about to surprise her target when he least expected it.

It was almost eerie being in Darien's apartment when he wasn't there. It was so quiet.

" So this is what it's like to live alone? I'd go crazy", Serena muttered. She put the containers of food in his fridge and then surveyed the room. Refusing to give in to her inherent laziness, she squared her shoulders, and took out the list. Number one was to clean the dishes. " Prepare to be moon dusted, evil dishes", she said, tying a bright pink bandana around her head. She considered drawing war streaks on her face but decided that was taking things a bit too far. Or rather she did when she couldn't think of anything suitable to draw the lines with.

She cleaned every dish she could find, even going around the house and picking up the stray cups and plates that hadn't gotten as far as the sink. The pile of dishes soon overflowed the draining board so she started drying them off, and when that was finished, she dragged a chair away from the kitchen table and stood on it so that she was tall enough to put the dishes away. Sometimes, it really didn't pay to be so short.

The only other thing she had on the list for Monday was to take the garbage out. The other chores could wait since she had needed to spend most of her time today cooking. She wiped off the kitchen counters before pulling out a different piece of paper from her back pocket. Chewing pensively on the tip of her pen, she finally wrote.

Hey Darien,

Thought I'd do something to make studying a little easier. After all, it's important that you get good marks, so that you can get a good job, and then support me in the way to which I'm accustomed. Kidding, of course. Dinner's in the fridge just heat it up and eat. And I'll know if you don't eat it – I know all about you students and your coca-cola and peanut butter sandwich style dinners, so don't think you can get away with it while I'm around. Yes, I made it, but don't worry, Lita tasted it and gave it the thumbs up and, no, she did not then keel over and die (I know what you're thinking). Love Serena.

Serena placed the note where she knew he would find it and then scratched off another item on her list. Pulling a black garbage bag from under the sink she emptied out all the apartment's garbage cans, tied the top shut, and picked up her list. She locked his front door again and headed down to the dumpster, and then home, smiling brightly. She wished she could stay and see his expression, but the whole point was to make things easier for Darien, so he wouldn't be distracted. Alone at last in her room that night she touched up a few details on her master plan before writing in big red letters: 'Monday – mission successful, no casualties'.

Meanwhile Darien was unlocking his apartment door, a mere half-hour after Serena had left. He opened the door and flicked on the hallway lights. A quick glance into the kitchen made Darien do a stunned double take. He even went so far as to check the number on the door he had just come through, wondering if he was in the wrong home. Convinced that he was in the right place, he wandered into his spotless kitchen and noticed the note sitting innocently on his counter. A smile formed on his face when he realized that his 'dish fairy' was none other then his girlfriend. Well of course, who else would be so considerate? He was a little leery of the dinner she had prepared, despite her assertions that it was okay to eat, but after a tentative bite, he discovered it was not only palatable, but also quite tasty. He heated up the whole thing in the microwave, wolfed down the contents still standing in the kitchen, and dumped the dishes in his now empty sink. Darien was still smiling when he carefully placed her note into the corner of his bedroom mirror.

Tuesday dawned cool and rainy but Serena was upbeat anyway. She practically jumped out of bed and proceeded to crack her knuckles, much to the chagrin of her guardian cat.

" Do you have to do that? The sound is so disgusting", Luna mumbled. " Hey wait a minute, what are you doing up? Are you feeling okay? This makes two days in a row you've been up before noon."

" Funny, Luna, really you should be a comedian. If you must know, I'm on a mission and thanks to you, I'm now behind schedule", Serena said, before hurrying out of her bedroom to take a shower. Luna stared after her, a look of bewilderment on her face. She jumped up on the desk to look at the so-called 'mission' of Serena's.

" Operation Perfect Girlfriend? I don't remember authorizing this. Did Artemis go over my head? Ooh, if he did…" Luna said angrily, jumping out the window and heading over to Mina's house to speak with her feline partner.

Serena dressed in soft black leggings and an orange sweater that she had borrowed from Mina and never really gotten around to returning. She filled her backpack with supplies: Darien's dinner, laundry detergent, and fabric softener, her wallet, and of course, the master plan.

As she walked down the hallway towards the door, she bumped into a sleepy-eyed Sammy. Sammy's eyes widened at the sight of his sister alert and active despite the early hour.

" Why are you up so early? Going to see your boyfriend?" Sammy said, stretching out the word boyfriend until it was so annoying that it could almost be considered a different word.

" No. This is top secret of course, but if everything goes according to the plan, then there should be no interaction between the target and myself. If you'll excuse me, my E.T.A is fast approaching. Over and out", Serena said, saluting to her brother and marching out the front door.

" She has got to be adopted", Sammy said, when he stopped laughing at his sister's antics.

Serena strode into Darien's apartment with a swagger; so confident was she in her abilities. " Beware dirty laundry, in the name of the moon, your days are numbered." Serena found Darien's laundry basket completely buried under a pile of clothes. For a moment she was thrown through a loop, since they smelled so strongly of Darien that her thoughts started wandering. Fortunately, she recalled the plan, and placed it on the kitchen table so that she could clearly see her responsibilities for today. Laundry was the number one priority and Serena collected the towels from the bathroom – holding the ones that had been lying on the wet floor at arm's reach.

" Wow, Darien can be a slob. Who would have guessed? I might just get some good blackmail out of this yet", Serena said. She even went so far as to strip the sheets from his bed. It was too much to ask of a regular girlfriend, but then, Serena wasn't going for average. She was aiming for nothing else but best girlfriend in the world, and the best girlfriend in the world probably did wash sheets, she reasoned.

Serena, however, ran into her first snag when she realized that she had collected enough clothes and things for at least four loads of washing. The Laundromat was fortunately in the building, but it was down in the basement, and Serena wasn't sure she should leave his clothes washing while she went back and forth for each load.

" What do I do?" Serena pondered. Fortunately, her creative self had prepared for this in advance, and her back-up plan was written out plainly on the OPG list. It said: phone Mina.

" Good advice", Serena said, and picked up the phone.

Mina came over, but only after Serena promised to return her the orange sweater if she did.

" So this is the infamous plan Lita was talking about. You've really got it bad for this guy, don't you?"

" I got up early this morning", Serena admitted solemnly.

" Yeah, that's love alright", Mina said nodding her head. " So let's get cracking already. You separated the laundry already?"

" Yep; darks and colours, whites, delicates, and, um, miscellaneous which is mostly towels."

" Hmm, delicates you say?"

" I'll handle that pile, thank you very much", Serena said blushing.

" Sure, take all the fun. Just answer me this, boxers or briefs?"

" Mina!" Serena said, starting to laugh.

" You can't hide this kind-of evidence. I will find-out Serena", Mina teased. Together the two girls managed to get the clothes down to the deserted laundry room, and Mina proved useful in figuring out the coin-operated machines. Several hours later, Serena was waving goodbye to a smug looking Mina. Mina had indeed secured a nice piece of intelligence about Darien's undergarments that she could offer the other girls at the next slumber party. Knowledge was a powerful thing.

In the apartment, Serena remade Darien's bed with the Snuggle scented sheets, and hung the towels back in the bathroom. Cleaning the bathroom was Wednesday's job, and she was not looking forward to it. The things she did for love… She hung up all his clothes, envying his amount of closet space, and considered snooping through his closet and his chest of drawers, but when she consulted her plan, she could not see it mentioned among 'permissible actions'. The plan was not to be messed with, so Darien's secrets remained safe.

In the kitchen she collected yesterdays used Tupperware, and washed the few cups that were in the sink. She still had all afternoon, so she went down to the little bakery on the corner and bought some blueberry muffins as well as some freshly ground, dark-roast, Kenyan coffee that she knew was Darien's favourite, even though it was too expensive to buy it often. Judging by the amount of coffee cups she had cleaned yesterday, it was obvious that caffeine was something he needed a lot of while studying. She went back to his apartment and left him two muffins for breakfast tomorrow, and put the remaining four on a plate that she took into the living room. She ate them all (doing laundry can really build up an appetite) while watching really bad afternoon television, then she cleaned up, and went to write another note.

Dear Darien,

I'm baaaacccckkkk! Dinner number two is in the fridge. It seems yesterday's was a success? And even if it wasn't, you'd better tell everyone else that it was or I'll tell them about your nasty habit of leaving wet towels on the floor. Oh yes, I know that secret, and I'm not afraid to use it. Have fun studying, and remember to get some sleep! I figured I'd say that because it sounds like something my mom would say, and since you don't have a mother to nag at you, I guess I'll have to. The muffins are for breakfast, not for snacking! Sit up straight, and do your homework! (See? I'm good at it!) Love always, Serena

This time when Darien arrived home, he knew Serena had been there even before he opened the door. He could feel her presence somehow, and he was convinced he could smell her perfume in the air. Somehow the terror of his exam that day began to fade away as he realized that even should he have failed, there was someone who cared for him deeply. His dismal day even began to brighten as he read the note she had left him. He read it though twice then tucked it reverently alongside the other one. Standing in his room, he realized that something felt different about it, and for a moment he couldn't figure out what it was, but then he realized that the mountain of dirty clothes he had been collecting was missing. Well, not missing, he soon corrected, just cleaned and hung up nicely where they belonged.

" Amazing", Darien said. He went into the kitchen and ate his dinner with a spirit so light he was almost giddy. " So this is what it's like to have someone take care of you? A guy could get use to this". Even the thought of studying all evening wasn't enough to bring his spirits down, especially not when he saw the little bag of coffee grounds sitting next to his coffee pot, tied at the top with a little pink bow. Feeling more then a little choked-up, he wondered what he had done lately to deserve such attention. Very late that evening, he finally shut his textbook and swallowed the last dregs of his coffee. Dazedly he brushed his teeth, and marvelled at the fact that even his towels had been cleaned. He stumbled tiredly to his bed, curling up under the covers, and wondered how he was going to sleep with all that caffeine still pumping through his system. His sheets smelled of fabric softener, he realized, and it was this thought that put him out like a light.

Serena woke up the next morning and flattened the master plan out on her desk. Writing quickly, she penned: Tuesday – mission successful, casualties minor (lost Mina's sweater but then I suppose I would have had to have given it back eventually anyway). She then read what the mission for the day was and sighed. Clean the bathroom and the living room. Pure unappreciated grunt work. Still, it was nothing that the perfect girlfriend wouldn't do. Digging through her closet she found a pair of loose army print pants and a snug fitting black tank top. She tied a green bandana Rambo-style around her head.

" Where are you off to this morning?" her mother asked, seeing the unusual clothes on her daughter.

" Somewhere no woman has dared go before. I go forth to face my destiny", Serena said, voice getting louder. She stood up from the breakfast table since she was finished her cereal anyway. " I will not surrender; I will not admit defeat for mine is the duty as sworn by the list!" Serena said striking a pose and brandishing the master plan as though it were a weapon.

" That's nice dear. Just be home for dinner", her mother said easily. Serena shrugged and put the list back in her pocket. There was just no impressing her mother.

" Sure, later", Serena said, picking up her backpack and leaving the house for Darien's.

Serena calmly placed a peg on her nose and proceeded into the bathroom. To be fair, it was no messier then her own bathroom, but that didn't mean she couldn't tease him later. When the bathroom was sparkling (the mould on the shower walls did not bear thinking about), she headed back to her house to put part two of her plan into action. She took out Wednesday's dinner from the fridge and placed it in her backpack before calling Amy.

" Amy, I need your help."

Serena and Amy arrived at Darien's at the same time. Serena had Darien's dinner in her backpack, while Amy was carrying piles of folders, boxes, and brightly coloured labels.

" I see what you mean, Serena. This is no way to study", Amy said, looking with sadness at all the piles of paper lying around the living room. Something seemed to come over Amy just then and she got the same strange glint in her eyes as Serena had. " We'll need a plan. A way to coordinate all the papers into a simple yet effective system." Amy rubbed her hands together gleefully. Was their anything more fun then organizing someone's work habits?

Serena put herself entirely under Amy's control since she didn't have a clue what she was doing. They put sticky notes between the pages where Darien had obviously left off, they arranged papers in order of date and subject, cross-referenced with length and importance, and they colour coordinated everything according to some content sheet Amy had printed up. It took almost the entire afternoon, but soon the living room was cleared of the mess and Darien's desk had become the eighth wonder of the world.

" I almost envy him. He gets to spend the whole evening studying… Anyway, he really ought to have some sort of plant life. No study area is complete without an oxygen producing organism."

Serena raised an eye in puzzlement at her friend, but decided that since she hadn't understood the statement, there was no way she would understand Amy's explanation should she ask for one. Instead she said brightly, " Okay, plant. Check".

" Well, I'd better get going then", Amy said, casting one more longing look at the all the studying still to be done.

" I'll walk you down. Thanks so much, Amy".

" No problem", she replied. In the elevator Serena whipped out the page and crossed off Wednesday's duties, and jotted down 'buy plant' to her list of things to do. Amy's eyes widened as she looked over the sheet of paper. " Serena that's… that's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Did you really organize that thing all by yourself?"

" Yep. We've been through a lot together", Serena said patting the page before putting it away.

" I have a whole new appreciation of your relationship with Darien", Amy said, still amazed that Serena had created a list and stuck to it. Serena waved goodbye to Amy and headed off for the flower shop where she bought a small pot of Forget-me-nots. She placed the flowers on his desk in plain view then struggled to write the day's note.

Hello Dare,

Guess who this is? (And if you don't know then your brain is seriously fried and I think you should seek professional help). Spaghetti and meatballs are in the refrigerator – I couldn't resist making my namesake. Do you like the plant? Do you remember going to the conservatory and seeing this with me? Amy helped me with the organizing and she's left you detailed directions on how the system works. Don't ask me because I'm still confused. Good luck tomorrow, yours forever Serena.

Darien had had a horrible day but with every step towards his apartment, he felt a little bit better. He had a feeling Serena had been there again, and he wondered what she had done this time. He went immediately to look for her note and found it next to the potted plant, along with Amy's complex looking directions. After reading the note, he tucked it along with the other two in the side of his mirror. Amazingly, Serena and Amy had managed to arrange his hundreds of notes into some kind-of order, and it was relief to sit at his desk without fearing death by avalanche of paper. What an embarrassing way for a superhero to die.

Serena awoke on Thursday morning to the shrill ringing of her telephone.

" Hello?" she mumbled into the receiver.

" So what's the excuse? And it had better be a darn good one. Aren't I your friend?"

" Raye? It's seven in the morning, what's the matter?" Serena asked bewildered.

" What's the matter she asks, I'll tell you what's the matter. Everyone got to help out on your master plan but me. I want to help too, and I'm sure I can come up with something. I'm talented, aren't I?"

Serena started laughing. " Raye, you are just so weird. You're mad at me because I didn't put you to work?"

" Well, I didn't want you to think I wouldn't. Now tell me what's on the list today, and I'll help", Raye said sternly.

" Yes ma'am!" Serena said and scrambled to find her plan. " Hmm, Thursday. I have to go grocery shopping, and make sure he has something for breakfast. That's about it. He has a very early exam tomorrow, so I need to make sure he's relaxed, and rested, and ready to go in the morning."

" Grocery shopping? Seems like a waste of my skills, but I'll do it. Should we go now?"

" Hold on, I'm not even dressed yet. Give me an hour and I'll meet you at the store on 67th, okay?"

" Fine, see you there. This is so exciting!" Raye said. Serena hung up the phone and with a groan she rolled back into her bed and put a pillow over her head. " I have the oddest friends in the world, Luna. Also the nicest, but still…"

Serena and Raye bickered their way happily through the grocery store. It was a lively conversation involving minimal tongue wars and a great many snappy retorts. They carried the grocery bags up to Darien's apartment and put the food away. Serena placed the final meal she had made for Darien in the fridge and gave a sigh of relief. Being a perfect girlfriend was a tough business, she decided.

" Wow! This place is so clean. You really did all this?"

" Why does everyone keep asking me that? Is it so hard to believe that I could work hard for something important?"

" No, it's just that I've never heard of anyone doing so many nice things for someone else. I just hope Darien appreciates it. If he doesn't, make sure you tell me and I'll give that jerk a curse he won't soon forget", Raye said, a devilish glint forming in her eyes.

" Um, thanks, I think", Serena said, taking a step back from her friend. " Anyway, what should we do now? His test tomorrow is the hardest one yet, and I know he'll be panicking about it, but I don't know what else I can do".

" You've done enough. Want to come over and read some manga?"

Serena double-checked her list but she had completed everything on it already. She felt somewhat at a loss and decided she might as well go over to Raye's for a while.

" Sure, I'll come. Just let me leave Darien a note", she said, and quickly wrote down her greeting.

Hey there Darien,

Last night of studying, I bet you're happy about that. I bought some groceries for you today so tomorrow you'll have to make your own dinner and you can't use the excuse that there's no food in the house. Try not to freak out about tomorrow's exam – I know you probably will anyway, but remember that in the end it's only an exam. I am so proud of you! Sorry, don't know how that cheesy statement worked its way in here, but that's what I get for writing on impulse. Love you lots, Serena

Serena was lying flat on her stomach reading comics in Raye's temple room, when Raye came inside and flopped down next to Serena.

" Hey, I just had a brilliant idea. There's this friend of my grandfather's staying at the temple and he's like this therapy guru. He's been giving massage lessons to people all week – showing them how to reach certain pressure points to relieve stress and promote relaxation, that sort of thing. Anyway, I've wanted to take a lesson all week, and now I have the time. Why don't you come with me? Then later, you can use Darien to practice on", Raye said with a broad wink.

" Raye! I would never have such impure thoughts about my sinfully handsome boyfriend", Serena said, mockingly offended. Then she narrowed her eyes playfully, " Of course, if I thought I was learning the technique in order to help Darien, and not just for the opportunity to touch him, then I really couldn't refuse, could I?"

" You are the master of persuasion, my friend. Shall we?"

" We shall", Serena replied giggling.

Later that evening Darien leaned back in his computer chair and sighed. He closed one of his textbooks, removed his glassed, and rubbed the bridge of his nose. His coffee cup was empty and he carried it back to the kitchen where the last batch of the special coffee Serena had left, was waiting. While it heated up in the microwave, he wandered around his apartment with an air of melancholy. He imagined all the things Serena must have touched in order to help out, and he let his fingers roam those same places since he couldn't touch her directly. Taking his coffee in hand, he walked slowly around the room, grateful for the groceries in his cupboards, and impressed with the cleanliness of all his rooms. In his bedroom he touched the four notes she had written him in her sprawling handwriting with reverence. With a start, he realized the reason for his current malaise was not the studying, but because he was missing Serena. She had been in his home, and she had taken care of him, but he hadn't really seen her. It was almost a tease the way she was so close and yet just out of reach. She hadn't called him in the night like she use to, and he missed the sound of her voice. He missed her, despite the fact that she had never been so involved in his life.

Darien glanced at his watch. It was a quarter to eleven, and Serena usually went to bed around eleven so it was safe to call. He was finished studying – whatever he didn't know now, he'd never learn by tomorrow, and he was too wired and anxious about tomorrow's test to sleep. He dialled the number he knew by heart and waited for her to pick-up.

" Hello?"

" Hey, Serena, it's me", Darien said, sitting down in his chair.

" Darien, hi. What's up?"

" Nothing, just missed you is all. And I wanted to thank you for, well, everything. You know you didn't have to do all that for me."

" Of course, I didn't have to. I wanted to", Serena said happily. " So you really missed me, huh?"

" Sere you have no idea. I come home and there's all these wonderful little reminders of you here, and it makes me smile, and then it makes me a little sad because your not here too."

Serena was stunned as she sat on her bed holding the phone tightly to her head so as not to miss a word.

" Oh", she managed to say. " Well I know how hard you work, and I wanted to make things a little easier for you. Do you have to study more tonight?"

" Nah, I quit for the night. If I don't know it by now…"

" Then make sure you get a good night's rest. You know how I feel about the importance of sleep", Serena said, pretending to talk sternly.

" I'm too tired to sleep. I'll probably lie here for the next seven hours and stare at the ceiling," Darien joked dryly.

" Poor baby", Serena said. Just then her mother yelled upstairs and asked if she could use the phone. " Dare, I'm sorry but I've gott'a go. Mom needs the phone."

" Sure. Night Serena", Darien said, sad that their conversation was to be so short.

" Goodnight, Darien, love you", she said and hung up. Thinking over the things he had said, she realized he was feeling rather lonely. That was one thing she had not taken into account when she had made her perfect plan – the fact that he might miss her. It had honestly not occurred to her. " Well, I could go over there now. He said he wasn't going to study anymore, and maybe I can help him get some sleep. I do know how to give a mean massage", she thought.

After her mom was finished with the phone, Serena called Lita and asked if she could use her house as a cover story. Lita agreed after making a lot of sly innuendoes about where Serena was really going.

" Mom? I'm going over to Lita's with the girls for a sleepover, okay?"

" At this hour?"

" It's a spur of the moment thing, and besides it's Spring Break – nobody keeps regular hours on holiday. Please?"

" Fine, you can go", Serena's mother said and was rewarded with a big hug from Serena. Serena then ran to her room, stuffed a few necessities in her backpack and ran over to Darien's apartment. She knocked lightly and waited.

" Serena? What are you doing here?"

" Having a sleepover at Lita's, what does it look like I'm doing?" she teased. Then she confided, " I decided I missed you too."

Darien smiled, wrapping her up in a hug, and kissing the top of her head.

" I'm not very good company, I'm afraid", he said, locking the door behind her. He rubbed the back of his neck and gave a little grimace because his muscles were so stiff from sitting all night.

" That's okay. But I did tell you to get some sleep and I don't see any signs that you listened. March yourself into that room right now mister."

" Who are you and what have you done with my sweet and compassionate girlfriend?" Darien asked.

" Hey, that's no way to talk to someone who has as much blackmail as I do against you", she said with a wink. " Everyone is very curious as to the boxers/briefs debate".

" I'm going, I'm going", Darien said. Sitting on his bed he glared at her. " Now what, I'm still not tired".

" It's no wonder, you're way too tense. Lie on your stomach. I want to try something I learned today", Serena said.

" Okay", Darien said warily, wondering about the feverish look that had come into Serena's eyes. A more suspicious person would think this was all part of some great plan, or something. He felt her small hands encircle the back of his neck. " Oh dear, you're planning on strangling me?"

" Shut-up and relax. I know what I'm doing" Serena said, more then a little irritated that everyone seemed to think she was completely inept. Gently she pressed her thumbs into the centre of his neck, while her fingers soothed the tight muscles at the sides. She felt the tense muscles begin to soften.

" That actually feels… really, really, good", Darien said, voice muffled by his pillow.

" Told you I knew what I was doing. Me and Raye had lessons today", Serena said, moving her hands to his shoulders. Her strong fingers kept up a steady rhythm while Darien's breathing began to slow.

" If you think you're going to get me to fall asleep, I should warn you that it's not likely to happen", Darien said, even as yawn threatened to derail his thoughts. He was beginning to feel very relaxed as though he couldn't move a muscle should he even want to.

" Whatever you say Dare", Serena said obligingly. She continued to work her way across his back, occasionally making use of the pressure points that were supposed to stimulate sleep.

" Well, maybe just a little nap, if you don't mind?" Darien asked, barely able to stay awake.

" Sleep, I'll stay right here", Serena said soothingly in his ear and watched as his eyes fluttered tightly closed. Darien's breathing became deep and measured and he clutched his pillow like a child. Serena stifled a laugh as she finished her massage, and pushed a lock of hair from his face. He looked like a little child when he slept; a slight scowl on his face as though he knew he had been tricked into falling asleep. " Okay, one slight problem. You'll never get a good night's sleep still dressed in your clothes", Serena said. Serena began pacing up and down the length of Darien's bedroom. She had tossed the list aside since it had failed to provide an answer for this problem. " He's your boyfriend: you've cleaned his bathroom, washed his underwear, and cooked his food. Removing his pants shouldn't be anything you can't handle." Still, Serena hesitated and proceeded to pace again. After a moment she faced herself in the mirror.

" Remember, you are the 'best girlfriend ever'. This is the mission that you have chosen to accept", she said to her reflection. " Right, I can handle this. After all I've seen him at the beach in only a swimsuit and I survived. I've had his tongue down my throat and his hands… well, let's just say that this should be no big deal. Wait, what if he isn't wearing underwear?"

Serena pondered this possibility before coming up with a simple solution. Lifting up his T-shirt slightly she confirmed her suspicions by noting that his boxers were partially visible above the waistband of his jeans. Just at that moment, Darien chose to roll over onto his back, nearly pinning Serena's arm underneath him. Easing herself away carefully so as not to wake him, she found her nose approximately two inches from his own. Unable to resist she kissed him lightly and was rewarded with a tiny smile. Feeling more confident, she once more became determined. She slipped off his shoes and socks, tickling his foot lightly to ensure that he was truly asleep and not just pretending. He moved his foot but didn't laugh. Taking a deep breath, she approached the more dangerous item. Keeping her eyes averted as much as she was able, she undid the button and zipper on the front of his jeans. Blushing furiously, she checked to see that Darien was still asleep, before pulling off his pants by holding on to the very edge of the cuffs.

" Thank goodness you like your clothes loose", Serena said, blowing some bangs from her forehead. Climbing next to Darien on the bed, she wiggled the blankets out from underneath him and then tucked them around him. Darien sighed in his sleep and wrapped himself tighter into the covers. " I did it", Serena said in wonder. " And I didn't see anything, or touch anything, I wasn't supposed to", she said, trying not to sound too disappointed.

She changed into the pyjamas she had brought with her, and brushed her teeth. She took her hair out of its pigtails and then clambered into Darien's bed. In moments she was sound asleep.

Darien awoke to the horrifying noise of his alarm. Groaning he reached out to turn it off, only to find his arms ensnared in strands of gold and a warm body pinning him down. He managed to switch off the alarm and then looked with wonder at his girlfriend who was sleepily opening her eyes.

" Morning already?" she mumbled, and then her eyes widened as she discovered where she was. " Hey, how was your 'nap'?"

Darien smiled and continued to run his hands through her hair. " Perfect", he said finally, trailing fingers down her face. " Just like you."

Serena smiled, finally feeling like she deserved the title he had inadvertently given her just last week.

" In that case, I'll have to make you breakfast. Apparently, that's what perfect girlfriend's do. You go get ready for your exam", she said, letting go of him reluctantly. She padded out to the kitchen in her pyjamas, and Darien went to take a shower. Dressed and ready for his final day of University for the term, he sat at the table eating pancakes, looking up at Serena every now and then.

" You know, in precisely six hours I will be finished all things school related…"

" Yeah, so?"

" So, I'll have nothing but free time, and I think, if you're willing, that I should spend it all on you. And thank you properly for all you've done for me", he said. Serena put down her fork and stood up from the table. She went and sat in his lap, with her arms wrapped lightly around his shoulders.

" Darien believe me when I say you don't have to thank me. It was truly my pleasure", she said. " Of course, I do take non-cash contributions"; she said wiggling her eyebrows merrily. Darien kissed her smiling mouth.

" Consider that a down payment then. I really do have to get going", Darien said. He went to get his wallet and keys from his bedroom but came out holding up the beat up list Serena had tossed aside. Darien tried not to laugh, but it was obvious the sides of his mouth were tugging up at the corners. " Operation Perfect Girlfriend?"

" Eek!" Serena yelled, lunging for the page and succeeding in getting it away from him. She hastily crumpled it up in her fist while her face blushed scarlet. " Well a girl's got to have a plan – I wanted to be sure I got it right."

" Come here you", Darien said picking her up and leaning her up against the wall. " Nobody has ever tried so hard just for me", he said huskily. He kissed her until they were both breathless, and then forced himself to relax his hold. " But you have to admit that title is good for a few bits of blackmail?"

" I suppose", Serena said smugly, ushering Darien out the door. " Although before you go spouting off all those details you might want to ask yourself this question?"

Darien paused in the doorway, wondering what she was up to. " What question might that be?"

" How you went to sleep fully dressed, and woke-up in your boxers? Bye, Dare", she said closing the door on him and giggling lightly.

Later on that day Serena met up with her friends for a gab session at the arcade.

" Yeah, so Darien's got big plans for us tonight. I can't wait!"

" Well, you deserve it Serena. That plan took a lot of work", Amy said.

" And I couldn't have done it without all of you. How will I make it up to all of you?"

" You're the best friend in the world, of course we'd help you out!" Mina said.

The other's nodded and agreed, but Serena got a thoughtful expression on her face. 'Best friend in the world'? Sounded like the beginnings of another mission, Serena thought. She rubbed her hands together gleefully as she planned out Operation: Best Friend Ever.

Okay, I know it was silly, but still tell me what you thought, okay? For anyone waiting for part 6 of 'All the Right Notes', I'm sorry. I'm stuck but I am working on it and I will finish it. Operation: Finish Story (get it?) Thanks!